During a recent visit to South Africa, the Honorable Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, spoke about education, employability and entrepreneurship and how a country encourages their spread at a grassroots level in order to prepare students for a global economy.
Gillard visited Zandspruit Primary School in February to celebrate the Ducere Foundation’s African Children’s Stories program roll-out in the local township community along with its partner Monash South Africa (MSA), a leading private higher education provider founded by Monash University (Australia) and a member of the Laureate International Universities network.
As the Chancellor of Ducere and Chair of the Board of Directors, Global Partnership for Education, Gillard emphasized the importance of literacy and education. While launching the latest collection of stories written by local South African learners, she encouraged the children to keep writing and to make their education a top priority.
The MSA and Ducere collaboration is made possible through the MSA student-led program, “This is Me,” which promotes children’s creative thinking, storytelling and literacy skills to support their academic and personal growth. Di Fleming, CEO of Ducere Foundation, reiterated Ducere’s vision to, “continue publishing stories written by African children, for African children to be shared across the globe. We encourage and celebrate literacy from a young age, and empower the young learners to embrace their African culture.” MSA distributed hundreds of these stories to schools through their campus community engagement programs.
Esther Benjamin, CEO of MSA and CEO of Africa Operations for Laureate International Universities stated, “This project, which is one of many MSA outreach programs, strengthens students’ passion for volunteering as part of their personal development, provides them with an opportunity to make important contributions to their community, and equips them with valuable skills for leadership and entrepreneurial thinking.”
Gillard’s visit culminated in a panel discussion, held on Feb. 9, 2016. Together with panelists including prominent business, NGO, and community leaders, Benjamin and Gillard discussed the challenges and opportunities for students in the global marketplace.
Benjamin stated, “By facilitating important conversations on education’s link to building robust economies and skilled marketplaces, we strive to be a leading change agent in South Africa and beyond. We pride ourselves on local relevancy as well as a global perspective. We work with an extensive global network of thought leaders to ensure that our graduates are equipped for the global business environment as well as for entrepreneurial initiatives relevant to the marketplace.”